POLICE Vehicle Spotlight: Chevrolet Silverado PPV

Chevy’s pursuit-rated pickup is available with a two-inch life for off-road duty, but it’s also well equipped for street work.

David Griffith 2017 Headshot

The Chevrolet Silverado PPV is built for patrol in all weather conditions.The Chevrolet Silverado PPV is built for patrol in all weather conditions.Photo: Chevrolet

Last year Chevrolet introduced its first pursuit-rated pickup, the 2023 Silverado PPV. Chevy says it started developing the  Silverado PPV back in 2018 at the request of law enforcement agencies that wanted a vehicle capable of hauling equipment and pursuing suspects both on and off road. Its speed, acceleration, braking, and ability to haul or tow heavy equipment, make the Silverado PPV suitable for multiple roles in law enforcement operations.

Based on the work truck version of the Silverado, the Silverado PPV is a crew-cab, short-bed (5 feet, 8 inches), four-wheel-drive pickup designed for high speeds and dynamic braking. Its available in two models, the Z7X and Z71. The Z7X offers a two-inch lifted suspension to make it even more capable for off-road applications. Both models are powered by a 355-horsepower, 5.3-liter V8 that is matched to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The brakes are 16-inch rotors with six-piston Brembo calipers and Lo Met linings. Both Silverado PPV models come with a towing hitch, and they can carry or tow a payload of 9,300 pounds.

Rave Reviews

The Michigan State Police tested both models of the latest version (2024) of the Silverado PPV during its annual Police Vehicle Evaluations back in September. And the new pursuit-rated pickup turned some heads.

During dynamic testing of the Silverado PPV at Michigan’s Chelsea Proving Grounds MSP testers pushed the trucks to their top speed of 112 mph. That top speed is governed, based on the limits of the Silverado PPV’s Goodyear all-terrain tires.

Howard Smith, police vehicle engineering manager for General Motors, says the tire’s performance both on road and off road was so strong that it was worth reducing the top speed of the truck. “If the tire could go faster, we would go faster. But the truth is our customers were not asking for more speed,” he adds.

One reason that Chevy’s customers probably didn’t want more top speed from the Silverado PPV is that top speed is usually more about the track than law enforcement operations on the street. The two most important dynamic performance concerns for police vehicles are acceleration, especially closing speed, and braking.

MSP actually rated the Silverado PPV quicker than its Chevy police fleet stablemate, the Tahoe PPV 4WD. The Tahoe PPV 4WD scored an average 0 to 60 mph of 8.03 seconds, 0 to 80 mph of  12.94 seconds, and 0 to 100 mph of 20.32 seconds. Both models of the Silverado PPV exhibited a bit more punch. The Silverado Z7X ran a 0 to 60 mph of 7.43 seconds, 0 to 80 mph of 11.95 seconds, and a 0 to 100 mph of 18.87 seconds. The Silverado Z71 was a little slower with a 0 to 60 mph of 7.59 second, 0 to 80 mph of 12.04 seconds, and 0 to 100 mph of 18.70 seconds. Aerodynamics and weight are probably the reason why the Tahoe has a slower closing speed than the Silverado. The Tahoe PPV 4WD has a 5,730-pound curb weight, while both models of Silverado PPV have a curb weight of 5,010 pounds.

Even more important for an emergency vehicle than top speed and acceleration is braking. The combination of its big rotor front brakes with Brembo calipers and its 20-inch wheels with all-terrain tires make the Silverado a stopping star. MSP tested the Chevy pursuit pickup’s 60 to 0 mph stopping power and estimated it at 140.2 feet for the Z7X and 140.4 feet for the Z71.

Smith says he is very proud of the stopping capability of the Silverado PPV. He explains that both the rear and front brakes on the Silverado PPV are derived from the system on the police Tahoe, but specially calibrated for the different weight splits of a pickup. “This braking system was an easy choice to haul this pickup down for all of the police pursuit uses it will see and to certify it for police operations,” Smith adds.

The brakes on the Silverado PPV are impressive, but Smith says the most important factor in safely bringing the pickup to a safe stop is its all-terrain tires. “It’s 95% the tire,” Smith says discussing the friction coefficient of the tires. The stopping performance of those tires on the street and off road is one of the key reasons why Chevy selected them, even though doing so required governing the speed of the vehicle to match the tires.


Off-Road Capabilities

Both models of the Silverado PPV were built for on- and off-road operations with four-wheel-drive, a two-speed transfer case with four high and four low settings and auto, and an auto locking rear differential for maximum power when needed.

A two-inch lifted suspension makes the Silverado PPV Z7X even more capable off road. “The two-inch lift gives you that much body clearance for agencies working in a rocky terrain area,” Smith says, adding that Chevy debated whether the two-inch lifted version should be pursuit rated. “We could have just pursuit rated the Z71, but we wanted to make a statement and made the Z7X a PPV as well.”


Police-Specific Features

Chevy offers an extremely rich set of features on both Silverado PPV models.

One of the more interesting police-specific features on the Silverado PPV is Protected Idle, which uses the vehicle’s push-to-start ignition to protect the running vehicle from theft. Protected Idle keeps all the equipment running and the air conditioning or heat still working, and also prevents anyone from getting in the unlocked vehicle and driving away while the officer is outside. The officer activates it as they get out by pressing the cruise control cancel button.

Another police-specific feature on the Silverado is Surveillance Mode. A circuit in the vehicle allows an upfitter to install a lighting control that gives the officer selective control over the truck’s interior and exterior lights. This prevents the running lights from illuminated a covert operation.   

Other standard features on the Silverado PPV include Dynamic Fuel Management that shuts down engine cylinders when their power is not needed. The EPA rates the Silverado PPV’s fuel economy at 14 miles per gallon in the city, and 17 or 18 on the highway. This feature is also available on the commercial Silverado.

Interior features on the Silverado PPV include automatic muting for the entertainment radio when the officer is using the police radio. There are also a wide variety of useful creature comfort features on the Silverado PPV. For example, the cockpit has dual USB ports and a 120-volt electric outlet.


Upfitting Features

Some features on the Silverado PPV are designed to reduce the cost and time of upfitting the vehicle for law enforcement duty.

For example, the vehicle comes with standard headlamp and tail lamp flashers with red and white or red and red wig wag patterns. Agencies can also buy the truck with LED or halogen spot lamps already installed.

Silverado also has features that make it easier for upfitters to add electronic systems. “Under the hood and in the passenger compartment, upfitters can find a lot of the circuits they need to do the upfit without a lot of extra work,” Smith says.


The Chevrolet Silverado PPV can carry or haul 9,300 pounds of payload.The Chevrolet Silverado PPV can carry or haul 9,300 pounds of payload.Photo: Chevrolet

Multipurpose Machine

Both models of the Silverado PPV are designed for on-road and off-road police duty.  The pickups can be used as cargo carriers and trailer haulers, and they can also perform patrol duties, including pursuits. That lets an agency buy one vehicle that can perform the mission of a special service truck and pursuit-rated SUV.

“We had customers asking us for a pursuit-rated pickup so they could conduct a wide variety of off-road and on-road missions,” Smith says. “Agencies are telling us they are going to do a lot of towing with this truck, and it should be exactly what they need to do that job and so much more. With the Silverado PPV, you can use the same vehicle for hauling and patrol.”

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